India receives 80 per cent of its annual rainfall from the Monsoon. Unsurprisingly, even small variations in the monsoon’s arrival time can significantly impact agriculture. In India, the monsoon first hits Kerala, mostly at the beginning of June. After that, it moves along the west coast and towards central and northeast India.
Apart from the 54.6 per cent of the country’s workforce involved in agriculture, a sizeable number of families depend on fishery for their survival. Therefore, monsoon forecasting should be accurate and dependable as it often makes the difference between poverty and prosperity among many families.
Not just the monsoon, an accurate weather forecast can also be crucial in saving lives. In 2020, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) won global accolades for accurately predicting the cyclone Amphan.
However, India’s monsoon forecasting has very poor accuracy levels. Not only the IMD but the private players like SkyMet have also failed to forecast the Monsoon correctly. According to a 2019 Reserve Bank of India analysis, these agencies missed the forecast for five out of six years between 2013 and 2018.
The chief reason is the wide range of complex parameters involved. Scientists analyse a large number of satellite data and design models and simulations to arrive at a prediction. However, numerous factors affect the atmospheric conditions, especially in the Indian subcontinent. For instance, accurate prediction of the interaction of easterly and westerly winds or the formation of low-pressure areas over the Bay of Bengal is difficult. But some areas have a scope for improvement. For instance, Indian agencies still heavily rely on data gathering and processing. While India has already introduced artificial intelligence and modern data analytics into its weather systems, they are needed to be implemented on a broader scale.
Additionally, active citizens can bring some fresh ideas to the table. Weather enthusiasts can meet on a social networking platform and start an online discussion regarding ways to improve the present prediction models to make them more useful for locals.
For instance, if you have ideas on the topic of monsoon prediction, then you can start a RoundTable discussion on the exciting social media app Khul Ke. You can invite your friends or like-minded people to organise a moderated discussion at the Khul Ke RoundTable feature.
The problem of prediction accuracy is not just limited to India. Despite their far superior infrastructure and deep pockets, developed countries are also battling the accuracy issue. Moreover, global warming and climate change are further escalating the problem.
But India has the potential to overcome these problems and improve its prediction accuracy rate in the upcoming years. The country has developed its own weather prediction models and is working to improve them. So, hopefully, our farmers will be able to rely more on weather predictions soon.